‘A Misunderstanding In Instructions’


Clockwise from top: Supt Noel Cunningham, Sgt Maurice McCabe, retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny

Yesterday morning.

At the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle.

Superintendent Noel Cunningham sent a new statement to the tribunal.

This came ahead of the appearance of solicitor Annemarie Ryan, of the Chief State Solicitor’s Office.

Readers will recall it has been hoped that Ms Ryan will be able to shed light on how a claim about a meeting in Mullingar in August 2008 – attributed to Supt Cunningham who was present at the meeting – ended up on a document sent to the commission from the then Chief State Solicitor Eileen Creedon’s office…

Only to be proven false by a taped recording of that meeting produced by Sgt Maurice McCabe and Supt Cunningham’s own notes and report on that same meeting.

The specific claim in the Chief State Solicitor letter was this:

In the course of this meeting [in Mullingar in August 2008] Sergeant McCabe advised Superintendent Cunningham that the only reason he made the complaints against Superintendent Clancy was to force him to allow sergeant McCabe to have the full DPP directions conveyed to him.

After the letter was sent to the commission, readers will recall Colm Smyth SC, for the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, had the following exchange with Sgt McCabe, during the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation:

Smyth: “In the course of that [Mullingar, August 2008] meeting, Sergeant, you advised Superintendent Cunningham that the only reason you made a complaint against Superintendent Clancy was to force him to allow you to have the full authority directions conveyed to you?”

McCabe:That is absolutely false.”

Sgt McCabe subsequently produced his tape.

The tribunal last week heard Kathleen Leader BL, for the tribunal say, that no such threat was accompanied by Sgt McCabe’s request that the DPP’s directions  in relation to the Ms D complaint be given to the D family.

She said:

 “When later in the hearings of the O’Higgins Commission the tape was produced, on day four, to the Commission, having previously been disclosed by Sergeant McCabe, the matter of a threat at Mullingar meeting was negatived.”

The tribunal also heard last week of a statement made by Colm Smyth, SC, to the tribunal.

In it, he said:

A misunderstanding in instructions which came from clients other than Commissioner O’Sullivan resulted in an inaccuracy related to an interaction with sergeant McCabe on the 25th August, 2008 in Mullingar Garda Station.

Those instructions as initially understood were accurately reflected in paragraph 19 of the letter of the CSSO to the Commission of Investigation dated the 18th May, 2015. The said complaint made by sergeant McCabe was against Mr. D. and not Superintendent Clancy.

The inaccuracy in question was that the complaint being made by Sergeant McCabe was against Superintendent Clancy. The complaint had in fact been forwarded to Superintendent Clancy. This complaint came to be investigated by Superintendent Noel Cunningham.

This error was corrected but did not alter the substance of the matter being put to Sergeant McCabe about the meeting in Mullingar on the 25th of August, 2008 and which sergeant McCabe accepts.

So, it would appear that the matter of the so-called “threat” that was outlined in the Chief State Solicitor’s letter is still being maintained – at least by some.

Further to this…


With his new statement, Supt Cunningham attached Ms Ryan’s notes of a consultation meeting they had on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 in Garda HQ.

Ms Ryan’s notes refer to what Supt Cunnigham told her in relation to the meeting between Supt Cunningham, Sgt Yvonne Martin and Sgt Maurice McCabe in Mullingar in August 2008.

Inspector Michael McNamara was also present at this consultation meeting in Garda HQ.

Firstly, Ms Ryan’s notes say:

“Up to 2008 above and over 26 years’ service, Noel never had one single complaint against him by anyone. Since then, there has been numerous complaints from public about him. Question over whether McCabe behind D’s allegations that Noel didn’t carry out proper investigations.

“No adverse findings to date, but some still ongoing.”

Noel met with McCabe in Mullingar with Yvonne Martin in 2008 about complaints to Mike Clancy. McCabe wanted his DPP file. Noel made report of this meeting in the next day.”

The tribunal heard that, in Ms Ryan’s notes, she had an ‘arrow’ pointing down from the word ‘McCabe’ saying:

“This was his reason for making complaint to Mike Clancy.”

Secondly, the tribunal heard Inspector McNamara’s notes record:

“Letter of demand from Sergeant McCabe for file of superintendent to DPP in 2008 report. Allegedly got no support. Meeting in Mullingar. Sergeant Yvonne present.”

Reason making complaints to Superintendent Clancy was to force his hand to get a copy of the file.

In respect of Inspector McNamara’s notes, Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, asked Mr Ryan: “Am I correct in saying that he [Supt Cunningham] did provide this information?”

Ms Ryan and Mr McGuinness then had this exchange:

Ryan: “If he has waived privilege in that respect?”

McGuinness: “Yes.”

Ryan: “It’s just, I understand from an affidavit sworn by the Gardaí that he hadn’t, so…”

McGuinness: “Yes.”

Ryan: “– am I in a position to talk about it? So there is detailed notes setting out that.”

Legal argument then followed about privilege.

Following on from that, the tribunal heard parts of Supt Cunningham’s fresh statement yesterday.

It heard that, in the statement, he said:

“On the 12th May 2015 I met with the Commissioner’s legal team at Garda Headquarters in advance of the first sitting of the O’Higgins Commission. At that meeting, I outlined my relationship and dealings with Sergeant McCabe. This included details of my meeting with Sergeant McCabe on 25th August 2008 in Mullingar when investigating the complaints he made against Mr. D. The notes clearly show that I outlined the complaint was made to Superintendent Clancy.”

Later, the tribunal returned to Mr McNamara’s notes.

There was this exchange:

McGuinness: “These are, as we previously identified them, Inspector MacNamara’s notes of the same meeting, and at the top of the page it says:

“Letter of demand from Sergeant McCabe for file of superintendent to DPP in 2008 report. Allegedly got no support. Meeting in Mullingar. Sergeant Yvonne present.”

He said:

“Reason making complaints to Superintendent Clancy was to force his hand to get a copy of the file.” And that is consistent with your note?

Ryan:It would appear to be.”

McGuinness: “It would appear to be, all right. Thank you.”

Judge Charleton told the tribunal that it had “become increasingly clear” that the right thing to do may be to call Supt Cunningham in to give evidence.

Ms Ryan will continue her evidence tomorrow at 10am.


Readers may wish to note that the tribunal has also heard that the first liaison officer appointed for the O’Higgins Commission of Investigation was the now retired Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny.

He was appointed to that position – which would have involved ensuring the transfer of documentation, etc, to and from An Garda Siochana to the commission – on February 12, 2015.

While Head of Legal Affairs at An Garda Siochana Ken Ruane gave evidence yesterday, Mr Ruane explained that subsequent to Mr Kenny’s appointment, there was another liaison officer appointed, Supt Ward, and then, finally a third, Supt Fergus Healy, who ended up being the liaison officer for the commission.

Mr Ruane yesterday gave evidence about the first consultation meeting which took place in the Four Courts between gardai and their counsel for the commission.

Of that meeting, Mr Ruane spoke about a delay in collating documentation ahead of the commission.

Mr Ruane said:

“Chief Superintendent Healy had made a comment at a meeting on 11th of May that with respect to AC Kenny, I have it in my own notes, we lost six weeks. There may have been a perception arising out of the fact that the chief superintendent, who was the liaison for the Guerin Report, there may have been a perception that all of the documentation was necessary — necessarily collated at that point. I simply don’t know.

“But those questions would have to go to Assistant Commissioner Kenny or Chief Superintendent Ward.”

Readers will recall the tribunal heard in the summer that Chief Superintendent James Sheridan was the liaison officer with responsibility for giving documents to Sean Guerin SC pertaining to the Cavan/Monaghan area.

Readers will also recall the false rape allegation against Sgt McCabe was passed from Chief Supt Sheridan to Assistant Commissioner Kenny before it was sent to the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan in May 2014 – even though both Chief Supt Sheridan and Assistant Commissioner Kenny both knew the rape allegation was false.

The tribunal has also heard evidence from Asst Comm Kenny that he never sent on the corrected referral – which showed the rape allegation was false – to the Garda Commissioner.

During the Keith Harrison modules, it heard that Asst Comm Kenny was out of the country.

Yesterday: ‘This Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With The Factual Matters To Be Investigated By O’Higgins’

“It Was Dragged Back In, In A Collateral Way To Demean Him”


10 thoughts on “‘A Misunderstanding In Instructions’

  1. BT Barnham

    Brilliant coverage BS …but an eerie silence from the papers and News …and surprisingly few comments. Even the opposition bar AKfor7 seem very quite .. is there an unoffical moratorium on this?

    1. Otis Blue

      In fairness, Mick Clifford in De Paper ( Irish Times Cork edition) has done sterling work on the McCabe issue for many a day.

  2. Simplelife

    I love BS and their addictive coverage. I feel that there is just ssoooo much going on everyday that it may be hard to compress into some sort of digestible MSM news story. I do know that when its all over, thats when you will see a media explosion! And although theres lots of unnerving scandal everyday, it will all come out in the end and some peoples days will be numbered!! Katie Hannon is doing a good job on this and that won’t go unnoticed

  3. Topsy

    Now that Gerry O’ Carroll (such an outstanding hums) has finally solved the Kerry babies case he might offer an option to the tribunal on the MCabe affair.

  4. GiggidyGoo

    RTE wants us to think that the nub of this is ‘whether Ms O’Sullivan relied on a false sexual abuse allegation or any other unjustified grounds to discredit Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission’
    A sly sentence used by RTE to try excuse O Sullivan. As if she was acting only on 3rd part information and didn’t know any better. Bull. Once the canaries start to sing the truth will come out.

  5. Truth in the News

    The is a need to either write a book or better still a musical on all this called the “Celtic Peelers”.

  6. michael walsh

    During the Keith Harrison modules, it heard that Asst Comm Kenny was out of the country.
    Tribunal barrister Diarmaid McGuinness SC said that he was “on the far side of the world”
    aren’t we all?
    at this stage.

Comments are closed.